Just Rick (no ubis)
These pages are designed with Netscape. If you are knuckling under to Microsoft rule, they won't look best.
This page first appeared  8/05/2000   last updated 08/19/2014  (expanded the text and images)
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Shameless self promotion:
The picture below on the left  was taken 01/01/2000 at 1:19 am give or take a few minutes.
Happy New Year!   I had to work that night.  So, there I am at work,  enjoying a wild new year's eve. Or not.
 At any rate,  this is how I looked at the  turn of the century.

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   As far as my ACTUAL job;  well,   one  could say that I was  "into"  hydrostreamers,  as you can see in the picture
  above in the center.   And, WHERE I work is in the picture above on the right.   Click on it for a clearer view.
 The center picture was actually taken during a trip to San Antonio some years ago, where we performed some tests.
 I don't often get into a 20 foot long vertical buried pressure vessel with a 2 ton hydraulically-rotated lid.

More! Shameless self-promotion!:
If that's not enough of me, here's another mugshot.  For one more look, click these blue letters.(flv video,about 190k)
If you've had enough of me already, then click here to get back to the welcome page.
If you want to see what I'm up to, take a look at this webcam.My goodness, you DO have time to burn, don't you?

Always try to understand what's around you. This is one of the few serious statements I make in this domain. Verify what you learn whenever you can. Especially here, on the internet.
The internet is a tremendously entertaining and informative medium. Unfortunately, perhaps because a lot of the content is written, people will accept information that they see here without any verification.  But, people seem to do that most of the time, anyway. All of us. Think about it. How much of what you know, do you really know? We are exposed to such a mass of information that it is not really possible to verify or test all of it. Think how little we would all have time to learn if we had to prove every single "fact" presented to us in school.  On the other hand, looking at things with opened eyes and an alert mind might help us to separate fact from fantasy. Also, investigating our surroundings just might make the world more interesting.
I've put together some links here that I find interesting. Maybe you will, too.  So, let's See The World !

A word about martial arts:
It seems obvious to me that we should exercise our  minds. Well, if we are to enjoy what we can sense, our bodies should
be healthy, also. As interesting as it can be to visualize and try to understand our physical selves, it only seems logical that
we should enjoy the machine carrying our minds around. Heck, we might as well enjoy our bodies, we live in them as long as
we're here. Anyone can find something that they can enjoy doing. I happen to enjoy traditional Chinese exercise. Click on the
link for a brief (very brief) overview of my experience in  martial arts.

How do I see the world? "Don't take life so serious. It ain't nohow permanent."--Walt Kelly
Looking at a lot of what goes on around me, I can see things that really aren't that great. Sometimes, events in one's life
can conspire to lower one's spirits. To dispel the effects of events of this nature, I look for things to make me laugh.
I don't use mind-impairing recreational chemicals to alter my mood, so laughter is the best way to confront life when
it feels like it might be trying to drag me down. At the very least, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to feel bad while
I am laughing.  I might feel awful before and after, but DURING the laughter, I'm ok. Sometimes, things I find worth laughing about may strike me  at the most unlikely times, in the most unlikely places.
As Mark Twain has written:
" Will a day come when the race will detect the funniness of these juvenilities and laugh at them- and by laughing at them destroy them? For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon- laughter.
Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution- these can lift at a colossal humbug,- push it a little- crowd it a little- weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast.  Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand." - The Chronicle of Young Satan, Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts
So, I will from time to time include things here that make me laugh. Hopefully, it will make visitors to these pages laugh, too.
This is aside from whatever I might create, hoping also to make people laugh...and think.
My first offering is MST3K's "Caption This!".
Second, one of my first and longest-lived companions, Comics.
Third, a TV show that I think is very funny. Click on Red Dwarf. Collections of the show are available on DVD and VHS.
Fourth, The Red Green Show. A show about middle-aged men and machines, and why combining the two can sometimes cause problems.  Click here for a short clip that talks about people that I'm all too familiar with. (flv video 2375 kb)  Click here for a few more video clips.  Collections of the show on DVD or VHS are available from Amazon.com.

And below are various things I've gotten into that don't fit anywhere else:

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                                                                                                         MY BRAIN
The image, MY BRAIN, above, taken 05/26/2002, shows me preparing to do an alligator video interpretive program at the park.

May 29, 2003  I just thought I'd surprise some of y'all.  The picture below (IT'S ME) was from part of a  3D model I made. These links should take you to a couple flv video clips that I made from my talking head. (rikspike1.flv 687kb; rikspike2.flv 579kb). It took some effort to convert these, and the second clip doesn't flow well. Otherwise, try these two links to separate pages that should show the virtual heads  spike 1   spike 2 .  If the pages work correctly for you (and me) then something interesting should be visible.  I've read that these pages will only work with MSIE. Also, the pages require accepting a small download to work, then the "head" file will download. They are about 1.2 kb each). If you *do* see something interesting on the pages, then dragging the cursor over the image will allow you to manipulate it.  Right-click on the image for a pop-up menu. I think I've gotten it figured. The scripting on the page didn't automatically direct to a local file. And I thought doing *this* would be easier than posting more spider stuff. Mannnnn.
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                       TAKING A BREAK                                                                   IT'S ME!                                                                   ARGONAUT!
May 18, 2003  Later, near 2 o'clock,  I got some herbicide and an interesting tracked vehicle which we call the "ARGO".  The picture above (ARGONAUT!) me sitting in it. Click here to see a short clip (flv video 378kb) of me driving it.  The Argo makes an excellent moving platform for cutting down wild rice.

October 04, 2003  About 50 miles south of Houston is the town of Lake Jackson.  Among the many streets in this town is one named "THIS WAY" and another named "THAT WAY".  That just about says it all, doesn't it (see WHICH WAY?, above).
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                                                                     WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO?
October 10, 2004 The image below (MASHING!) shows me trying to use the ARGO to flatten more rice in 40 Acre Lake. Previous visitors to this page may recall that I've mentioned the ARGO before (see the entry for May 18, 2003 above) . Since then I've used the ARGO to flatten vegetation in various places throughout the park with success most of the time.  In fact, this year I recieved an award (see AW, SHUCKS, below) from the park for my efforts (THANKS, FOLKS!).
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                                                         MASHING!                                                                                                                              AW, SHUCKS!
On October 10th, I was able to get on the newly-repaired ARGO (good job, Ronnie!)(and *I* didn't break it) and make some more progress. This time, by pure chance, a friend of mine from long ago (over 20 years ago) happened to be in the park, and was nice enough to take some pictures and a few video clips with her camera while I was working. (Thanks, Darla!).  So, with the pictures, I can show how I use this tool. It isn't easy. The picture below are single frames from each of the clips. The ARGO seems to be popular among visitors at the park, so I don't feel too guilty about using it during the weekend. They'll usually ask questions about the ARGO, and about what I'm doing. As those who know me can attest--don't get me started talking about our park. The ARGO floats well, but doesn't propel itself well once it loses traction. If I go too far out, I may not be able to get back in. If I lose traction, I may have to throw a grappling hook or an anchor, catch something, and then pull myself back until I get traction. If I can, I will tie off to a stationary object, and then drive into the rice. When I get stuck, I have to pull myself out. The ARGO weighs about 1000 lbs. (according to the user's manual I downloaded, the ARGO Conquest (CB) has a dry weight of 465kg (1025 lbs)) but fortunately it's floating.  Still, it can be tiring doing this time after time-especially in 98-plus degree temperatures. (See PULLING MYSELF OUT, and PULLING BACKWARDS, below.)  Also, note that I'm wearing safety glasses, and gloves. The rice is a sawgrass, and can slice the hell out of you (and me). I don't suppose a strand of that stuff raking across my eyes would feel very good.

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                         PULLING MYSELF OUT                                                                          PULLING BACKWARDS                                                                        MASHING THE RICE    
                                 VIDEO CLIP 1 (984KB)                                                                            VIDEO CLIP 2 (903KB)                                                                       VIDEO CLIP 3 (721KB)               

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                           MAKING ANOTHER PASS                                                                         AND ANOTHER ONE
                              VIDEO CLIP 4 (404KB)                                                                          VIDEO CLIP  5 (307KB)

The ARGO does have a winch on the front, but it is difficult to use because it doesn't take up the slack as fast as I need it to. Also, I'd have to back into the water, and I'd lose the crushing weight that the engine adds.  The RICKUBISCAM image shows me backing into the rice, with the winch tied off to  a tree. I've reached the edge of traction, and I'm spinning the treads, but the ARGO isn't moving any further. I've still got slack in the winch line.
I discovered that the ARGO has bad deepwater handling the hard way, in Elm Lake, when I sat in the middle for about 30 minutes. I slowly spun one way, then the other, until I was able to slowly move close enough to the bank to jump into the water, wade in, and tie the winch line climb back onto the ARGO and pull myself in. Remember, I work for the park, and I've also studied alligator behavior, so I know what I'm doing. DO NOT EVER GO INTO THE WATER AT BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK!
During the time in Elm Lake before I got out, a number of park visitors watched me.
"Are you stuck?", they'd ask. I felt dumb enough for being in that situation. I certainly wasn't going to admit it. So, I said I was...um...testing it. Yeah! That's the ticket. I was "testing the handling characteristics in deep water". Yeah, that's it....
I got stuck a few more times that day, and finally allowed some park visitors to help (with very careful warnings and with utmost safety in mind, of course). Boy, did they get a kick out of THAT! I found out later that a number of the visitors couldn't wait to burst into the VC/NC and talk about how they had to pull a ranger and his "funny-looking truck" out of the lake. Oh, yeah. I heard a LOT about that. At least they didn't say "funny looking ranger in a funny-looking truck".
Anyway, after I discover how far I can go before I lose traction, I move parallel to the bank, and flatten what I can without getting stuck. This requires multiple passes, and I use the treads to tear the rice stalks (see the other images above and below). Look at how tall that rice is, especially in A LONGER PASS, and RUNNING OUT OF TRACTION, below.
I try to do this when water levels are low. Then, when the water returns, hopefully it is deep enough to prevent the rice from growing back.  When I catch this just right, the rice stays clear (and we can see the water) for many weeks. One of the things I like best about this method is that I'm not using any herbicide.

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                                A LONGER PASS                                                            RUNNING OUT OF TRACTION

                        VIDEO CLIP 6 (1023KB)                                                                VIDEO CLIP 7 (678KB)

December 15, 2005--I've spent a few minutes here, and a few minutes there, trying to fly one of those Spinblade toy helicopters. If you want to see something kind of cool, click on the image below to see the page.

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02/28/2007---In October of 2006 I took a course to become a Certified Interpretive Guide. I passed, but the certification is still on its way. For our final grade, we had to give a 10-minute program. I recieved a copy of my filmed program a few days ago. This  is it, after a few edits to add the pictures that I show during the program. The clip has mediocre sound quality, but I'm still audible. The file is about 80mb. It's about snapping turtles. So, if you'd like to see the program, click here. Hey, a few people asked me about it, so here it is.
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Click here to see pictures of some shirts I've designed.

Click here to get back to the welcome page.

All animated gifs on these pages were created by:Richard Dashnau. If you like them, email me and let me know.
If you didn't like them, I don't really care.
I'm still using flv video for my clips.  This makes the files smaller, and hopefully easier to see.